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Cilantro-Pecan Pesto

(recipe, Matthew Amster-Burton)

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This is totally delicious, which leads me to believe you can substitute like crazy and it will still be good. Walnuts for pecans, a dried chile de arbol for the fresh serrano, cider vinegar for lemon juice, coriander for cumin, whatever you like. Serve on pasta, bruschetta, or a quesadilla.


  1. 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro, loosely packed
  2. 2 cloves garlic
  3. 1 serrano chile, stem removed, seeded if desired
  4. ½ cup toasted pecans
  5. 2 tsp. lemon juice
  6. 1 tsp. kosher salt
  7. ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  8. ¼ tsp. ground cumin
  9. 2 Tbsp. corn or canola oil


  1. Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.


If you like, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup freshly ground Parmesan to the pesto. It'll melt nicely when added to hot pasta or tortillas. Read more about storing fresh herbs in Matthew Amster-Burton's Unexplained Bacon column.